About the first two books written by Colonel Jim Roper, USAF, Retired    


Author Biography

Timing is everything. The only year the Selective Service did not grant deferments for graduate school was 1968.

Born in Louisiana on November 14, 1946, and raised in Indiana, Jim Roper graduated from Wabash College in 1968--with fellowship offers to graduate school in chemistry. His draft board made a more compelling offer, so Roper joined the Air Force.

After pilot training in 1969, Roper became a Forward Air Controller, or FAC, at Pleiku, Vietnam. With the callsign Covey 5-9-1, he flew over Laos in the Cessna O-2, an unarmed spotter plane, patrolling the Ho Chi Minh Trail and directing airstrikes on trucks and guns. Selected for a program called Prairie Fire, he provided close air support to SOG reconnaissance teams--Army Special Forces clandestine missions behind enemy lines in Laos. He volunteered for a Top Secret assignment as a Raven FAC, living in Laos, wearing civilian clothes, flying unmarked Cessnas. At the royal capital of Luang Prabang he supported Laotian government troops protecting the king. He logged almost a thousand hours of combat as a FAC.

In 1971 Roper instructed student pilots at Craig A.F.B. in Selma, Alabama. After two years, he volunteered for a year in Thailand training Cambodian FACs. Then he moved to Phnom Pehn, Cambodia, and served as an Operations Analyst on the Military Equipment Deliver Team-Cambodia, until April 6, 1975. Phnom Penh fell to the communists on April 17th, just days after the fall of Saigon.

He spent three tours in England and one in Germany, flying the A-10, the F-111, and a desk at USAF headquarters in Europe. During Air Liaison Officer duty in 1983 with the Army's First Ranger Battalion in Georgia, Roper parachuted into Grenada during Operation Urgent Fury.

Roper commanded the 493rd Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath from 1987 to 1989. He was promoted to Colonel and served as Director of the Joint Warfighting Course at the Air War College. He retired from the Air Force in 1994. He is married to the former Elizabeth McCarthy, also an Air Force officer, and has four sons.



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